Dance For Me Ch. 15bybrightlyiburn©
Chapter Fifteen: Misunderstanding
Sada spent as much of the day as possible resting, keeping off her foot, but even with Alastair's company she eventually couldn't take it anymore. Leaving him napping, she headed out of the room and down towards the vending machines. Her ankle ached with each step but she ignored it. This sucks so much, Sada thought, fishing into her pocket for some change. Alastair has been so kind, but he has to know we have no chance.
"Well, if it isn't the Queen of Grace herself."
Sada cringed. She knew that voice well, and it grated on her nerves to hear it. Ignoring Melissa, she dropped her change into the vending machine and pushed the buttons for a Milky Way. The vending machine gave a sickly grinding noise and a moment later the candy bar hit the bottom of it with a loud thunk. Sada bent to pick it up, trying to ignore Melissa's waspish comments.
"Alastair should have joined me when he had a chance," Melissa said, her tone gloating. "At least then he wouldn't be dragged down by a loser."
"Shouldn't you be annoying someone else right now?" Sada snapped, tearing open the wrapper and taking a bite of the candy bar.
"Might as well get fat," Melissa gibed. "Give Alastair another reason to come running back to me."
Sada rolled her eyes. "Except that any sane man would run away from you."
Melissa's eyes narrowed. Sada smiled sweetly, then took another harsh bite from the Milky Way. She was getting irritated beyond belief, and the fingers of her free hand were curled into such a tight fist that her knuckles were turning white. Melissa took a step forward, trying to look threatening, although Sada just thought she looked ridiculous.
"He will come back to me," Melissa growled.
"I doubt it," Sada scoffed. "Alastair wants someone who loves him."
Melissa laughed. "He isn't smart enough to know the difference."
Sada wasn't really sure what came over her. The edges of her vision went red. There was the slap of flesh smacking into flesh, and Melissa staggered backward, a hand clapped to her left eye. Sada's hand stung, and she gave it a shake, trying to rid her knuckles of the ache. Melissa turned and raced away, sobbing loudly.
Wuss, Sada thought, rolling her eyes. She took another bite of her candy bar, then paused, thinking. Instead of heading back to her room, she headed down along the walkway, turning one corner and heading halfway down the next walkway before knocking on a door there. She heard footsteps inside, then the door opened. Quinn peered down at her, blinking in surprise. His hair was tousled and he wasn't wearing a shirt, but there were smears of paint on his bare skin. If I weren't head over heels for Alastair, Sada thought, I'd be in some serious trouble.
"Sada," Quinn said quietly. "Can I help you?"
"I uh...could we talk for a few?" Sada asked, staring down at her toes. "Um...Alastair is sleeping and...well..."
"Come in," Quinn said, stepping back from the door and beckoning her inside.
Sada stepped into the room and grinned. The bed was a mess, with blankets and sheets tangled up. An easel was set up in the corner, turned away from her, and the area around it was messy, although she had a feeling Quinn had no trouble finding whatever he needed in the clutter. She made to take a look at what he was painting, but he caught her wrist and shook her head. Puzzled, Sada dropped down onto the edge of the bed and gazed up at him.
"How's the ankle?" Quinn asked.
"A little sore," Sada replied. "Quinn...do you think it's bad to hit people?"
Quinn's eyebrows lifted. "Depends on who you hit, I guess."
"I uh...well...I kinda..." Sada stammered. "I hit Melissa."
Quinn stared at her for a second, then burst out laughing. She blinked at him, completely nonplussed. What's so funny? Sada wondered, frowning. She watched Quinn as he dropped onto the bed and stretched out on his back, still laughing. Despite herself, she had to clap a hand over her mouth to keep from giggling. It was odd to see him laugh so much.
"Ahh, man," Quinn gasped, resting a hand on his chest. "Sada, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hitting Melissa...if anything, there's something wrong with not hitting her."
Sada giggled. "But...well, I shouldn't let her get to me so much..."
"She must have said something bad, to piss you off that much," Quinn said.
"She called Alastair stupid," Sada said quietly. "I hate her...it's a waste of energy to hate someone, really, but I hate her for she did to him."
Quinn nodded once, but was quiet. Sada lifted her head and glanced at him. He wasn't looking at her; his expression was contemplative and somewhat sorrowful. She shifted onto the bed and crawled over to him, peering down at his face. Pale blue eyes flickered up to look at her. Sada found herself unable to move as he brought his hands up to cradle her face.
"I should have hit her twice," Sada murmured. "Once for Alastair, and once for you."
Quinn laughed. "That wouldn't be enough times."
Alastair stirred in his sleep, reaching over to the other side of the bed to catch hold of Sada. His hands found only sheets, which jarred him awake. He sat up, running his fingers through his hair, and glanced around. Not here, he thought, pushing aside the blanket. She must have gotten bored laying around, poor thing. Alastair stood up and grabbed headed into the bathroom; a shower would feel good right now.
Indeed, the water felt good on his skin, and it gave him time to think. Once he'd realized how strongly he felt for Sada, he'd been trying to find a way to tell her. The dance Alastair had created for tonight was supposed to be that way, but she hadn't seemed to notice it yet. And now she's so upset over falling, he thought, leaning back against the shower wall. She's right...it's doubtful we can win. But we can't give up. The delight in those bright green eyes when she dance convinced him of that.
I hope she gets back soon, Alastair thought, as he stepped out of the shower and reached for a towel. Spending the day with her, just relaxing, was a wonderful, wonderful thing. So often they were too busy to relax and lay around. He'd been so blissfully comfortable that he'd drifted off to sleep.
A knock on the door caught his attention. Must have forgotten her key, he thought, fastening his jeans, then throwing the towel around his shoulders. He ran his fingers through still damp hair and pulled the door open with the other hand. But it was not Sada standing there. What the hell is she doing here? Alastair wondered, staring down at Melissa. It took him all of a second to notice that she had a black eye and had been crying for awhile.
"Um..." Alastair began uncertainly.
"A-Andre...hit me..." Melissa sobbed, throwing herself at him.
He stumbled back a bit, feeling very confused. If there was one thing Melissa was good at, it was fake tears. However, Alastair doubted that even she would give herself a black eye. She was too vain for such a thing. Frowning, he placed his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back gently. He really wanted to just tell her to leave, but the image of admonishing green eyes blazed in his mind. Damnit, Alastair thought. I've got to have a bleeding heart for a girlfriend. He doubted Sada would leave anyone, even her enemy, to a man who hit her.
"Slow down," Alastair said. "What happened?"
"I...I just...I guess I said the wrong thing," Melissa sniffed. "We were talking...he said that he thought his choreography was better than yours and...and well I just don't think that's right..."
Who is she and what did she do with the real Melissa? Alastair wondered. He really wasn't sure he believed this, but still he hesitated. The bruise around her eye was proof that something did happen, even if it wasn't as she said it was. She stared up at him, pouting in the way that had always irritated him. Alastair willed himself to patience.
"You should tell the police," he said.
Melissa shook her head. "But...I'm s-scared. I...I know you won't let him hurt me..."
"There's nothing I can do," Alastair hedged. "You really need to talk to the police..."
"Please, Alastair," Melissa pleaded. "I don't want him to hit me again!"
Alastair's skin crawled as Melissa threw herself at him again. Touching her made him feel ill, but he didn't know what to do. If Andre really had hit her, he couldn't just leave her unprotected. Yet he was reluctant to believe her. He didn't like the look he'd seen in her eyes. Alastair tried once again to push her away.
"Why don't I talk to the police?" he suggested. "Go back to your room and-"
"No!" Melissa cried, clinging to him. "Don't make me go back there!"
"Melissa..." Alastair said, trying to keep his patience. "You need to calm down, okay? I can't help you if you're panicking."
"But I'm scared," Melissa whimpered.
Alastair sighed. He wanted badly to shove her out the door. He took a step back, but she stepped with him, trying to press close. Before he could get himself out of her grasp, she stood on her toes and pressed her mouth forcefully to his. Furious, he grabbed hold of her wrists and pulled her off of him. A quick, sharp intake of breath, from the door of the hotel room, caught his attention.
"Sada," Alastair breathed.
Tear-filled green eyes were staring at him. The world seemed oddly still, as though time had stopped. Sada stared at him for a moment, then whirled around and raced away.
"No," Alastair murmured. "No, Sada! No!"
He moved to run after her, but nails dug sharply into his arm. Annoyed, Alastair grabbed hold of Melissa's shoulders and shoved her roughly out of the room. He grabbed a t-shirt and yanked it on, then raced out of his room, slamming the door shut behind him. Melissa grabbed at him again, but he pushed her back with a snarl. A quick glance around showed that Sada had already disappeared. Where could she have gone? Alastair wondered, ignoring Melissa, who was whimpering pathetically.
It took him only a moment to figure out where she would have gone. Quinn. Of course, where else would she go? He raced down the walkway to his brother's room and pounded hard on the door. At first Alastair got no answer, but he was certain they were in there. He knocked again, harder this time; hard enough to make his knuckles split. The door opened a crack and Quinn's pale blue eyes peeked out.
"Let me in," Alastair growled.
"No," Quinn said coolly.
"Damnit!" Alastair shouted, shoving at the door. "Let me in, now!"
Quinn stared at him for a painfully long moment. He glanced back into the room, then stepped outside, pulling the door closed behind him. One hand remained on the doorknob, holding the door open just enough so that he wouldn't get locked out. Alastair resisted the urge to knock his brother aside. Anger would not make Quinn budge; he knew that well enough.
"Listen to me, Alastair," Quinn said.
Alastair folded his arms over his chest and scowled. "Talk. Fast."
"She's upset right now," Quinn explained. "You could go in there and you might be able to fix things...or you could wait until she's calmed down and can think clearly. If you insist, I'll let you in...but I think you should wait."
Alastair sighed. He hated it when his brother made sense. He wanted to be angry with Sada that she could ever believe that of him, but he wasn't sure he could blame her. He hadn't exactly made himself a great reputation, being a stripper. People generally looked at him as being the type of guy who would cheat on his girlfriend. Sada isn't like that, Alastair thought. But that must have been a really rude shock. He sighed and looked back at his brother.
"If you do anything..." Alastair warned.
Quinn rolled his eyes. "Give me a break, Alastair."
"I know how you feel about her," Alastair said. "You haven't done a picture like that in a long time. You're in love with her...but you don't even know her!"
"I know her better than you think," Quinn growled. "I know how much she loves you, for one thing. And I know you've never told her you love her."
Alastair stared at him. "How...?"
"She talks to me," Quinn said. "Because she's afraid she might say something that will make you leave her."
Damnit, Alastair thought, sighing heavily. There was nothing he could do right now. Quinn was right; he needed to give Sada time to calm down. But the thought that she'd be alone with his brother while she was so upset...No, he thought, giving himself a shake. Sada would never...she wouldn't! But girls found Quinn to be so sexy and intriguing. It killed Alastair to know she'd be alone with him.
"I'll never forgive you if you do anything to her," Alastair said, keeping his voice low. "Because I do love her. More than you know."
Alastair turned, reluctantly, away from his brother and the room Sada was in. He didn't want to leave. He was walking away when his brother spoke again.
"I do know," Quinn said softly. "Probably more than you do."
Quinn closed the door behind him and leaned against it heavily. He looked over at the bed, where Sada was curled up, sobbing quietly. Watching her like that tore him apart. And it's even worse, he thought, because I don't stand a chance. He knew his brother. The last time Alastair had been in college was when he was still with Melissa. Quinn remembered what his brother had said; that he didn't want to go to college, but he would because he wanted to marry Melissa someday.
Feeling completely depressed, he walked over to the bed and climbed onto it. Quinn pulled Sada into his arms, holding her close. She closed her arms around him, clinging to him while she cried. This kills me, he thought, stroking her hair gently. He wasn't crazy. There was something between them...it just wasn't something strong enough to compete with what was between her and Alastair. At least, not on Sada's side.
Her sobs only got louder as time went on. For awhile he let her cry, knowing it would be best if she let it out. When she began to choke and cough, however, Quinn rubbed her back gently, and spoke to her soothingly.
"Easy," he murmured. "Calm down, Sada, calm down. It's all right."
The only response he got was a choke gurgling. Quinn pushed her hair from her face and gently kissed at the tears falling down her cheeks. He felt guilty; it shouldn't feel so good to be holding her, when she was this upset. He wanted to imagine that she was his, that he was holding her because he was supposed to be, but her tears broke apart the illusion.
"Listen to me, sweetheart," Quinn said softly. "You need to calm down. You didn't see what you thought you saw. Listen...you love Alastair. Do you really think he'd do that to you?"
"N-no," Sada answered, her voice choked.
"I know he wouldn't," Quinn told her. "A man would have to be crazy to let you go, Sada. Come on, calm down."
She sniffled loudly and pulled away from him slightly. He sat up, reaching onto the bedside table and grabbing a tissue. Sada managed to sit up and blow her nose. She looked up at him, her eyes red-rimmed from tears, and yet she was still beautiful. Quinn reached out, gently brushing her cheek with her fingertips. She flashed him a watery smile and sniffed again.
"It hurts," Sada said. "Because I love him so much..."
"I know," Quinn told her. "Sada, I...this may sound out of place but...I want to kiss you."
Sada stared at him. He knew what she must be thinking, but he had to try. Quinn knew that it wouldn't make a difference; he was thoroughly defeated in this. Still, he reached out and cradled her face in his hands. She looked up at him, her bright green eyes warily searching his face.
"Alastair is so lucky to have you," Quinn murmured. "I would give anything to know, even for a second, what it's like..."
He noticed the instant in which her expression changed from wary to understanding. Quinn read it in her eyes; she knew that he was giving up. The sympathy in her eyes made him ache. He bent down and pressed his mouth gently to hers. The feeling of her lips moving against his made him groan softly and he kissed her slowly, tenderly, making it last as long as he could. When he pulled back her cheeks were flushed.
"Sorry," Quinn murmured. "I shouldn't have..."
Sada shook her head, a slight smile curving her lips. "We'll call it payback...for Alastair letting his guard down long enough for that skank to kiss him."
Quinn chuckled softly. "She must have made up some story about how she got that black eye...he's no good at getting himself out of corners when he's backed into them by women...even traitorous harpies like her."
Sada laughed, sniffling slightly. The awkward moment had passed. Quinn helped her to wiped her face off, and gave her one of his t-shirts to wear for bed. When they curled up together once more, he felt extremely melancholy. The companionable way she rested against him made it final. Now that he had given up, she would see him only as a really good friend. Quinn closed his eyes and rested against her; if he was going to be a friend, he might a well enjoy her company.